Running (or Skiing) Your Own Race

Over the years, I’ve vacillated between a love and hate of athletic “races.” So often the motivation seems to be about having that right to say “I ran a marathon! or “I did an Ironman!” I think my hatred (and that’s probably a way stronger word than I really mean) comes from the identity we are inclined to place on “what we do.”

We are not what we do.

But we can certainly learn a lot from what we do. This year, I signed up for the Birkie – a cross country ski marathon. And the process of preparing for that has given me some amazing insights about how my body works, how my balance works (or doesn’t!), and how seemingly unrelated things have an impact on my effectiveness as a skier. Not all of this is physical.

For example, while I feel the most physically prepared I’ve ever been for the Birkie, I still have a fear of falling into the trap of “starting like a stud and ending like a dud.” That is, letting the adrenaline of thousands of other skiers push me to go too hard – to follow someone else’s pace. It takes discipline to run (or ski) your own race and not give into what’s going on around you.

Life’s like that too. It’s easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing around you (or what it looks like based on your friends’ facebook updates). It’s the trap of comparing yourself.

True peace comes when you run your own race – at your own pace.

That’s what I’ll be shooting for this weekend. I’ll let you know how that goes.

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